Half of your partner’s clothing is at your place. You are tired of figuring out where you should spend the weekend. Maybe it’s time to move in together.
This is a big decision, exciting and a little scary. Knowing when you are emotionally ready to be together 24/7 can be difficult, and it’s harder if one of you is ready while the other one is holding back. But let’s say you have come to an agreement that it is time to create your own little nest together. Now you have another question: where should we live?
If only one of you has kids still at home or an aging parent living in a mother-in-law suite, you may make the decision based on what will work best for everybody. Sometimes one person is in a tiny studio apartment and the other person has a spacious house, and it just seems to make sense to move to the house. Proximity to work, lifestyle preferences (such as city or country living), and financial considerations may play a big part in deciding where to live as a couple.
Beyond such practical matters, however, there is the issue of territory. When one partner moves into the other’s space, it can be a little weird. The migrating partner may feel like a guest or an intruder; the stationary partner may feel disoriented or invaded. These are normal feelings, and have nothing to do with whether you love each other or whether you really want to be together.
Here are some practical tips to ease the transition:
- Take enough time to consider all the options before making the decision about where to live. Encourage your partner to express any misgivings ahead of time, so you can work around them or make another choice.
- If it is possible, you may want to start fresh in a house or apartment that you move into together. This allows you to start your household on a more even footing and to feel as though it is a shared enterprise.
- If one of you is moving into the home that the other shared with a previous partner, consider switching the master bedroom to another room, redecorating, or buying a new bed (even if the old one is perfectly good). These actions can symbolize a fresh start.
- Make sure each of you has a space of your own, however small. This is particularly important if one of you is a neatnik and the other one is, ah, a bit more relaxed.
- The person who is staying in the home should be willing to give up some furniture or possessions to make room for the other person’s things.
- Buy a few things that you choose together, even if they are from the thrift shop, so that the two of you are creating a space that reflects your identity as a couple.
Northwest authors Jennifer Y. Levy-Peck, PhD, a psychologist, and her husband Charles Peck are write a weekly column on midlife relationships. They are working on a new book, "Magic at Midlife: Your Relationship Roadmap for Romance After 40."
Previous Magic at Midlife Columns:
How to Help Your Partner Calm Down
Creating Shared Goals
Having the “Senior Safer Sex” Conversation
Planning Your Wedding (for Mature Couples)
Too Young or Too Old to be Your Partner?
Who Pays for What on a Date
Starting a New Relationship Before Your Kids Are Grown
Why You Need a Relationship Roadmap
Living with Pets and a New Partner
Exploring New Roles
Rowing Through Life Together
Let’ Talk About Sex
Helping Your Adult Children Accept Your New Partner
In Sickness and In Health
Step-Grandparenting Can Be Grand
Enjoy Life Together
Online Dating for the Older Set
Enjoying the Single Life
Sex in Midlife Relationships: Complicated but Wonderful!
Upgrade Your Communication Skills